Cotton On attempts to win over Gen Y with garment playlists

Controversial fashion retailer Cotton On has unveiled a fitting room that uses Radio Frequency Identification technology, which initiates a music playlist when a garment is being tried on.


The system, dubbed ‘Try On Your Sound’, works by tagging selected garments with a RFID code.


When these garments are taken into purpose-built fitting rooms, the RFID technology initiates a music playlist designed to reflect the style of the garment being tried on.


It transmits electronic information between a garment tag and a reader via a wireless system, so there is no need for human intervention or line of sight between the label and the computer.


Instead, it simply activates when the garment and reader are in proximity.


Cotton On worked with RFID engineering company Unique Micro Design to develop the technology, which is based on UMD’s new Retail Edgeware Application Platform.


According to Cotton On Group marketing manager Mark Coombes, the technology is designed to appeal to younger consumers, specifically Generation Y.


“We know that Gen Y defines itself by music and that fashion is also a means of self-expression, so we thought why not combine the two in our stores?” Coombes says.


“We focused on… emerging Australian artists and cutting-edge international acts not yet spun on commercial radio.”


“It gives shoppers a unique in-store experience that will be different for every individual according to their taste.”


In addition to being encouraged to ‘Try On Your Sound’, Cotton On customers are invited to share the experience via Twitter.


This customer feedback will then be used to shape the retailer’s future use of RFID technology.


Cotton On has had its fair share of controversy over the last few years, so it’s no surprise the retailer is trying new tactics to entice consumers into its stores. Its Victorian founders, Nigel and Tania Austin, have appeared on the BRW Young Rich List.


In October last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would take Cotton On to court for selling children’s nightwear that allegedly breached safety standards.


At the time, it was reported the ACCC is seeking five-year injunctions against Cotton Kids and Cotton On Clothing selling children’s nightwear.


The retailer has also been slammed for some of its products, including Christmas cards featuring swearwords, and baby clothing with slogans such as “I’m living proof my mum is easy”.


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